Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Royals join mourners at Army commander’s funeral

Mourners line the streets as the coffins of Trooper Joshua Hammond 18 and Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe are slowly driven through the town of Wooton Bassett in Wiltshire after being repatriated from Afghanistan where they died last week
Colonel Rupert Thorneloe
Charles and Camilla arriving for the service

Hundreds of mourners including the Prince of Wales attended the funeral service yesterday of the most senior Army officer killed in action since the Falklands War.

Charles, who was a friend of Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe MBE, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, had a private meeting with the soldier's family before the funeral service in central London.

The congregation at the Guards Chapel at Wellington Barracks in Birdcage Walk heard the 39-year-old father-of-two described as “the best of the best”.

Lt Col Thorneloe, from Kirtlington, Oxford, died alongside 18-year-old Trooper Joshua Hammond when an improvised explosive device (IED) was detonated under their Viking armoured vehicle on July 1.

He was the most senior Army officer to be killed in action since Lt Col Herbert ‘H' Jones VC OBE died at Goose Green on May 28, 1982.

The service heard tributes from former Defence Secretary Des Browne and Lt Col Thorneloe's father, Major John Thorneloe. The congregation sang hymns including Cwm Rhondda and Jerusalem as well as Men of Harlech, the traditional regimental song of the Welsh Guards.

Mr Browne told the packed Guards Chapel congregation he would treasure a letter he received from the Lt Col at Christmas. He said: “It's a source of great solace to me because that letter shows that the strength and depth of what I felt for this man was reciprocated by him.”

When the service concluded close family members including his father, wife and mother stood on the steps of the chapel and watched as the bearer party slowly carried the coffin to the waiting hearse.

The family group then led other members of the congregation to the nearby officers' mess in Wellington Barracks for a reception.

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